Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Race Across Oregon Elevation Profile

Non Cropped Images


















Sadism will prevail next weekend. I knew RAO had a lot of climbing, but you dont get the full impact until you stick all these elevation graphs together. Its like doing the Terrible Two, Devil Mountain Double, and the Western Wheelers Century in a row. I can't wait.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Terrible Two

The day started quick as usual from the start at Analy High. We were moving 20+ towards Santa Rosa. This was my 5th start for the TT, so I am starting to get used to the feeling. I was on my back-up bike that I have not ridden once since January giving me doubts about the day ahead. How I managed to break my fork on the way up to the ride is still a mystery to me. Somehow, a blast of wind managed to knock my bike over and snap the carbon drop out probably on Hwy 380 towards San Francisco. Some drivers were signaling to me and it took me a while to figure out the bike was sitting on its side, half way hanging off the car. The carbon drop out was still attached to the rack while the bike lied limply to the side. Luckily the damage was just to the fork and I can get that replaced before RAO. After driving back home to pick up the backup bike, I took back off for the ride. I had to adjust my goals on the fly as I knew it would be tough riding a bike I have touched since January and close to 4000 miles ago.

Riding down Bennett Valley Road with the top 20 or so, I managed to get dropped by the group on the descent before Trinity Grade. I started the climb alone and got passed by a few guys half way up. It was pretty cool out compared to last year, and I was climbing ok, but noticing that I was not climbing as well as with the Scott bike. The Trinity descent went ok and the little climb before Oakville Grade was with a decent group, but again, I got gapped on the descent as they took of at about 50 MPH down that hill and I hit the brakes. It was me and one guy trying to gap up the big group on Silverado Trail. I pushed it hard and managed to catch up, but was so tired from the effort I let them go and hung with a couple of guys trading pulls in the 22 MPH range. I felt like quitting for a minute as I was really feeling tired, unable to hang with the groups I felt I normally would be able to, and was just burned out. But, I kept pushing it into the first rest stop at mile 55 in Calistoga. I hit this in less than 3 hrs total time, at almost 20 MPH for the day, so things were ok. Was in and out of the rest stop in one minute and out to the Geysers. I managed to find 4 guys to work with towards the Geysers and we hit the base at about 19 MPH for the day. I was not feeling too snappy on the climb up the Geysers, but my overall fitness is much better, so even though I felt crappy, the first summit came pretty easily. The aid station was quickly dealt with and the descent down Sulfur Creek Canyon was as bumpy as usual. I remember hitting Mile 100 in 5:50 riding time, so things were ok. I did not get passed once on Sulfur Springs which surprised me. A couple of guys did pip me before lunch though, but I let them go. I treated lunch like a rest stop and was out in 2 mins. Skaggs was the coolest I have had yet in 5 attempts. I thought it was going to be toothless, but it still had bite and I methodically pedaled towards the top aid station never cranking too hard, but never stopping either. The second summit did not go too great for me as hot foot was coming on and I got passed by at least 5 guys. The descent to Gualala was typical for me as I took it easy. Near the bottom I got passed by Eric House and his brother and the #1 woman, Donna Nice. After taking a huge slug of Hammer Gel, I got a big energy surge. Note to self, remember to eat more on the RAO. I quickly took off from the aid station and headed to the dreaded Rancheria Wall. But this time, I was thinking of Summit Springs in Woodside and how much harder that climb is. This seemed to help as I really attacked the wall and felt the most aggressive I had all day. To that point, I felt like a survivor, but it was great to hammer that climb. Stewart's Point Rancheria at the top always interests me as I pass it. The Kashia Pomo Native American tribe were placed on a 40 acre tract on the top of Skaggs right before the drop to Hwy 1 and I am always shocked to see people living up there.

The descent to the coast was nice. We had a good tail wind to Ft. Ross and I managed to push it pretty hard, but I was not feeling particularly strong. I hit Ft. Ross at 4:33 PM and knew that a sub 14 hour finish was possible. I got out fast and attacked the climb like I did Rancheria Wall. It was damn hard, but I got to the top w/o resting and managed to keep the pressure on. The second climb of Ft. Ross before the descent to Cazadero was hard as usual, as you always think your done earlier. I got passed by some crazy descenders on the technical descent to Cazadero. But by this point, I was being extra careful as I needed to just keep moving to hit my goal. I pulled into Monte Rio at 6:20 leaving me 1:10 to get back to Analy High to break 14. Could I pull it off?

The ride towards Graton road always has more rollers than you remember the year before. I pushed hard and finally hit the left turn up Graton. I knew this would be one more small climb before the descent into Analy. The descent was a fantastic gift as it was fast, fun, and taking me home. I pulled into the end at 7:18 PM a bit surprised I made it by 12 mins. 13:48 for me was great considering where I started on this ride as a DNF and then two non-official finishes after 10:00 PM. Last years 15:01 in the heat was great, but today was a good breakthrough for me. I would like to do even better, but I achieved my goal that I did not want to jinx myself with by putting to paper before the ride, and managed to do it on the backup bike. Anyway, this was all about RAO, and I am thinking that stacking up Alta Alpina and the Terrible Two in 8 days was a good block of work. I got almost 500 miles in those 8 days and 40,000 feet of climbing. So it was a virtual RAO in a week. Two of my competitors in RAO were in the TT and Bruce Carroll beat me by 12 minutes and Laurence Kluck was behind me by about 30 minutes. Will be great to compete with them at RAO.

Total Time: 13:48
Ride time: 13:18
Off Bike: 30
Total Climb: 17,600 (TT has more than it advertised ;) )
Average Speed moving: 15.1 MPH
Average Speed overall: 14.5 MPH

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Terrible Two on Saturday

Been resting up hard this week for a full onslaught of the Terrible Two on Saturday. Going to leave it all on the road since this is the last hard ride before Race Across Oregon. I love the TT and its something I always look forward to. I plan on staying in the top 10% out to the base of Geysers so I can take advantage of some drafting. After this, its up to you to race to Skaggs and hopefully summit w/o cramping or suffering too hard. The key will be the right music for Skaggs. Last year I found out that the Grateful Dead works well on Skaggs. Have no idea why, but I plan on making sure I have some jams lined up. I have some crazy ideas in my head about what is possible on Saturday from a time perspective, but we all know that the main goal is to finish. I cant sully a fine blog entry with stupid egotistical blatherings. When it comes down to it, I will be thinking of RAO and not to worried about what happens on Saturday.

Terrible Two Time: 13:48

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alta Alpina Double

8 climbs, 20,400 feet total, 200 miles made for an epic day in the saddle. I was thinking that this would be pretty easy, as its just the Death Ride plus 5,000 feet and 65 miles. But the reality is that this is the Death Ride with 5,000+ feet of extra climbing. We had a bit of snow, rain, and freezing cold to throw in the mix to make this day stand out even more. My partner forgot his gloves and I had to ride w/o them and got the ultimate field test of Bar Mitts.

More later

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Western Wheelers 100K

Did this ride unofficially plus Summit Springs today and was home by 9:30 AM. Started at around 4 AM with Martin and we enjoyed a windless cool morning. We ended up with 7000 feet of climbing in 70 miles as we added Summit Springs at the end. The 21% on the top of that hill was a nice coda to the ride.

Friday, June 05, 2009

RAO Screencast

video Have always wanted to use Google Street View to create a simulation of riding along the road. I saw a great example of this Golden Gate Screencast and wanted to try it. I downloaded a 30 day copy of Camtasia and was able to easily build a test one. If one had a lot of time to sit and click, I guess you could do the entire RAO. It would be great if somebody figured out how to automate this. It might take as long to do an entire screencast of the RAO then to ride the thing.

I did Page Mill on the way home today in 46:10 which felt pretty good. Was nice and cool which made the ride a lot less painful. Going to do the Western Wheelers 100K on Sunday, but need to be back by 9 AM. I will take off at 3:30 AM to test out the lights as well as practice for next weeks Alta Alpina Double that will start at the same time. How will 20,000 feet of climbing feel? This is the first time I have attempted it in a single day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Time Trial Bike Set Up

Went to Mike Boester at the Palo Alto Bike Connection who set me up on the Scott Road Bike. He raised my seat on the Cervelo by more than a CM as at 80 CM it might match the Scott bike, but due to the different geometry and the more forward position, it needed to go higher. He also tweaked my bars to make it more comfortable. Going to ride in the TT bike to work tomorrow to test it out, but the little ride back felt great. Mike is a TT specialist and said he finished behind Kevin Metcalf in the early 90's on the state championships. He really takes his time and confidently set me up. Based on what he did on my Scott, I am pretty optimistic about this and how it can help in Race Across Oregon.